Now that your baby is smiling, sitting and moving more, the rattles and teethers that were on your baby registry probably do not keep them entertained for long.
Babies between the ages of 6 to 12 months are beginning to explore and interact with people and their surroundings, like crawling and walking across the living room. New teeth pop up through their gums, so finding durable and safe toys for them to mouth, bite and chew are important. Parents also get a little window into their thoughts, watching their baby touch and activate buttons, or place blocks into a container, or begin to turn the pages of a cardboard book.
Babies ages 6 to 12 months are on-the-go, crawling on their belly or on hands and knees, pulling themselves up to standing at the couch. Some are even standing and beginning to take a few steps on their own before their first birthday. There are many popular, fun, and safe types of toys at this age level.
Manipulative Fine Motor Toys
Babies love taking toys apart and putting them back together. They also like to "dump and fill" putting toys in and out of containers over and over again. Look for nesting and stacking cups, as well as soft toys that attach and unattach with velcro. These important toys help babies learn to develop their problem solving and fine motor skills, while they practice over and over again.
Pop-Up Toys and Cause-and-Effect Toys
Babies ages 6 to 12 months love toys that play lights and sounds with the touch of a button. Look for ball poppers and musical instruments. Babies also love busy boxes, classic toys where children push, twist or flick a button that opens a door to magically reveal a character.
Babies love to bang their toys, so you might as well let their banging be beautiful music! Babies love cause-and-effect musical instruments, that create a sound or experience. Using only a simple action, like touching a button or shaking their hand they have success. Musical instruments babies love include shakers, maracas, and light-up pianos.
Think your infant play mat or activity gym cannot be utilized any longer when your baby begins to sit on their own and crawl. Many activity gyms have sides that transform these great toys into tunnels or interactive play stations for children who are sitting and beginning to explore by crawling.
Blocks are great for children ages 6 to 12 months. They are learning to stack them and crash them over. Consider rubber or soft blocks for children in this age range. They do not have sharp edges and are a safer alternative.
Babies at 10-months-old are generally pulling themselves up to a standing position at the coffee table or couch. There are many options for sturdy walking toys that include shopping carts and strollers. Many walking toys in this age range have great long-term use, transforming into ride-on toys. They are a good investment, often being passed on to another younger brother or sister.
Want to take a walk to the park or join in on a family picnic? Wagons are a great alternative to a stroller and include seatbelt and cup holders for snacks and drinks.
Because children in this age range still love to place items in their mouth, toys that easily fit in a diaper bag or in the car are a must to entertain them on-the-go or at family events. Fun portable toys include stacking and nesting cups, shape sorters, ring stackers and push-button toy remotes and smartphones.
Wooden puzzles with large knobs are great first puzzles for kids. Look for puzzles with large handles and only three pieces to push into place. Babies will amaze you as they try to complete shape sorter toys, too.
Heavy duty board books or cloth books are perfect for this age. Books with paper pages may get ruined since babies often prefer to put books in their mouths. Thicker pages are easier for them to learn how to turn.
Interactive Plush Toys, Soft Body Dolls and Stuffed Animals
Babies love to imitate, soft-bodied dolls and stuffed animals are a perfect size and made of nice soft textures for younger children as they learn to hug and feed their own babies.
Kids have "lovees" and other stuffed animal best friends they enjoy dragging around and sleeping with. Many stuffed animals are also interactive plush toys, that help teach and engage children in singing, dancing and learning when they touch their hand or foot.
Now that babies can sit up in the tub, look for floating foam toys, boats and water squirters. Toys for the bath quickly and safely transform the bathtub into a new play area.
Children will love watching their parents engage them in songs and activities while wearing hand puppets.
One of the most motivating toys for babies learning to crawl and walk is a ball. Babies will love rolling it back and forth to their parent as they begin to imitate simple games, and will love crawling across the floor to find and bring back their ball.
At a loss for what to buy or overwhelmed with too many choices? Consider buying a subscription to a toy rental service, like Sparkbox Toys that will deliver educational toys to your home, based on your child's age level and interests. Love the toy, pay a portion of the retail price and keep it. Or return all the toys in the box with pre-paid postage and receive a new box of toys the following month.